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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 5, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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filibusters on the senate floor. these include the nomination of estrada, an hispanic immigrant with compelling personal story and outstanding judicial qualification who was subjected to seven cloture votes. janice brown, an african-american people who had two cloture votes. brent kavanaugh and thomas griffith. while all of these individuals were eventually confirmed, the procedural tactics used in their nominations made the confirmation very, very difficult. i'm not suggesting that this is the pattern to follow, but it is relevant to the arguments that ms. halligan is being treated quite differently or in an unfair manner than other
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with regard to the nomination before us today, i say a few mr. ramos, to be district judge for the eastern district of new york. he earned a b.a. from yale in 1982, j.d. harvard, 1987. upon graduation from law school, worked as an associate of simpson, thatcher, bartlett in new york city. in 1992, mr. ramos joined the office of u.s. -- united states attorney, eastern district new york, where he prosecuted a variety of federal crimes, including white-collar crime, defense contractor fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, labor racketeering, and violation of the arms export control act. in june 2000, he was promoted to deputy chief narcotics section, where he supervised assistant
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u.s. attorneys, prosecuting international narcotics cases. in 2002, the nominee joined the law firm of dave barry howard, predecessor to the firm dave-pitney, as a participate in the government investigations -- partner in the government investigations practice group. currently he does criminal and regulatory investigations, including antitrust, bank fraud, public corruptions, securities fraud, and government program fraud. the american bar association standing committee on the federal judiciary has rated mr. ramos with a unanimous well qualified rating. we're also considering the nominations of judge andrew l. carter for district judge, southern district new york. judge carter earned his b.a. from texas university, 1991;
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j.d. from harvard, 1994. judge carter's legal career began in 1996 as a staff attorney, criminal defense division, legal aid society new york. in 2000, he became staff attorney, federal defender's division. the nominee became affiliated with the federal defenders of new york in 2005, first as staff attorney, one year later as supervising attorney. his federal practice included drug cases, gun cases, and immigration fraud. in 200, judge carter was appointed -- in 2009, judge carter was appointed to his current position, u.s. magistrate, eastern district new york, where he is primarily responsible for handling civil matters. the american bar association's standing committee on the federal judiciary has rated judge carter with a unanimous qualified rating. the third nominee is james rodney gilstrap to be district
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judge, eastern district texas, a seat that is deemed to be a judicial emergency. mr. gilstrap received a b.a. from harvard -- or from baylor, 1978; j.d., baylor university school of law, 1981. mr. gilstrap served as an associate attorney for abney, baldwin and cirsey from 1981-1984. in 1984, he left to begin his own legal practice, smith and gilstrap, where he currently practices, representing individuals, corporations, local government on civil matters. in 1982-2002 -- 1989-2002, mr. gilstrap served as country judge, harrison county, where he had both administrative and judicial responsibilities. the a.b.a.'s standing committee
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has rated mr. gilstrap with unanimous qualified rating. then we have the distinguished nominee from montana that senator baucus just spoke about i, dana l. christianson, district judge for the district of montana. mr. christianson has b.a. from stanford, 1973; j.d., university of montana school of law, 1976. earlier in his legal career, mr. christensen practiced natural resources law, representing coal mining and oil and gas companies and litigati litigation, administrative matters. he went on to practice general insurance defense litigation, then medical malpractice cases. in 1996, he founded his own firm and continues to represent these entities and practices in these areas. he has also represented
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defendants in the large class action lawsuits filed in the district court, montana. in addition to his litigation practices, mr. christensen has also represented at least 15 physicians in confidential disciplinary matters before the montana board of medical examiners. he has also represented health care providers in excess of 200 matters before the montana medical legal panel. the american bar association standing committee on the federal judiciary has rated mr. christensen with unanimous well-qualified ratings. i intend to vote for all of these candidates. i urge my colleagues to do it. i thank the chair and yield the floor.
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mr. grassley: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, i'd ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i first rise to ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i'm here to speak about legislation that i'm introducing today that will prevent a huge tax hike from hitting working families across america and in pennsylvania. as the clock continues to tick down, it is imperative that we come together, democrats and republicans, members of both parties and both chambers, and pass legislation to provide more take-home pay by cutting the payroll tax as we did in 2010. the legislation that i'm introducing is a compromise offer designed to bridge the gap and to get at least 60 votes
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here in the united states senate. the legislation is fully paid for and includes measures that have received bipartisan support in the past. we can no longer afford to jeopardize middle-income americans in order to protect the wealthiest few across our country. this legislation will help working families by extending the current payroll tax cut and expanding that cut to a 3.1% level, a 3.1% reduction in the payroll tax. in essence, what we're talking about here is cutting the payroll tax in half as it relates to employees. small businesses will benefit from this legislation by benefiting directly from the additional money in the pockets of americans across the country. those with incomes above a million dollars should help in carrying this burden -- a
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portion of this burden. that's why the surtax is still in this legislation. but the surtax will now be only 1.9% compared to the 3.25% in an earlier version of my legislation. in addition, i've offered a few more offsets that have received bipartisan support. so the bottom line is, just as the first bill was that i offered, this legislation is, indeed, paid for. the tax cut is a key, an essential ingredient to job creation and economic growth in 2012. economists and forecasters from moody's analytics to r.b.c. capital markets, to barclay's capital, to macroeconomic advisors, all have emphasized that the tax cut will accelerate growth in 2012. without it, economic growth will slow and job creation will take
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a hit. mark zandi of moody's analytics has said without the payroll tax cut for 2012 -- quote -- "we'll likely go into recession." congress should act quickly to expand tax relief and to remove the uncertainty for working families in this holiday season about whether their taxes will go up in the new year. more take-home pay to keep the economy growing, that's what we need right now and especially in the year ahead. so i'd encourage all of our colleagues here in the senate, as well as in the house, to pass this legislation to continue and to expand a cut in the payroll tax. mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. gillibrand: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i ask that the vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: mr. president, i am proud to support caitlin halligan's nomination to the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit. caitlin halligan's impeccable career spans public and private practice similar to that of john roberts when he was confirmed
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unanimously to the d.c. circuit. miss halligan served as solicitor general of new york, a leading appellate lawyer at wyle-gotchil, and currently is general counsel at the new york city district attorney's office -- excuse me, new york county district attorney's office, which investigates and prosecutes 100,000 criminal cases annually. she clerked for supreme court justice breyer. the a.b.a. standing committee on the judiciary unanimously rated miss halligan well qualified to serve on the d.c. circuit. miss halligan has the support from across the political spectrum, including miguel estrada, carter phillips and officials in democratic and republican administrations. 23 former u.s. supreme court clerks, the national district attorney's association, the national conference of women's bar associations, and the united states women's chamber of commerce are supporting her
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nomination. new york city police commissioner ray kelly has said that miss halligan has three qualities important for a nominee: intelligence, judicial temperament and personal integrity. unfortunately, it appears that some of my colleagues are determined to criticize caitlin halligan regardless of the facts. one of the criticisms of miss halligan are positions she advocated for while serving as solicitor general. she filed briefs at the direction of new york's attorney general and argued on behalf of the state. that was her job. she was not promoting her personal views. miss halligan testified that she would faithfully follow and apply the supreme court's precedent from heller and mcdonald. when asked whether the rights conferred under the second amendment are fundamental, miss halligan answered, "that is clearly what the supreme court held and i would follow that precedent."
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let me also address the workload concerns brought up by some of my fellow senators. there are currently only eight active gummings on the d.c. circuit making it one-quarter vacant. ms. halligan has been nominated to fill the ninth seat, one of three current vacancies on the court. the senate confirmed four of president bush's nominees for the d.c. circuit. however, the court's caseload is higher now than it was under president bush's -- when president bush's nominees were confirmed. if ms. halligan was confirmed today, it would reduce the caseload from its current caseload of 161 pending cases to approximately 143 cases per judge. womewomen has been woefully underrepresented by the d.c. circuit often characterized as the second-most important court in our entire nation. only five of the 57 judges serving throughout the history of the d.c. circuit have been women.
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91% of the judges on this court throughout its 41-year-old history have been men. if we continue down this road of filibustering nominees simply because their nomination originates across the aisle, we are establishing an impossible standard that no nominee could or would ever meet. caitlin deserves an up-or-down vote, just as the republicans have advocated for their proliferate judicial nominees. the bottom line is there is no credible opposition to her nomination or her confirmation. halligan has distinguished herself throughout her career. he shoos established a commitment to fairness, reasoned intellect, steadfast integrity and profound respect for the law. i look forward to supporting caitlin halligan's confirmation to the united states court of appeals for the district of columbia, and i urge my fellow colleagues in supporting her nomination. mr. president, i suggest the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, we're soon going to roll call vote edgardo ramos of connecticut to be u.s. district judge for the southern district of new york. we also have three others on here. andrew carter jr. of new york to be u.s. district judge for the southern district of new york. james rodney gilstrap for the
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eastern district of texas. dana l. christensen to be united states district judge for the district of montana. i'd ask consent that following the roll call for edgardo ramos that andrew l. carter jr., james gilstrap and dana l. christensen be considered by voice vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, i see the hour of 4:30 before us. -- the hour of 5:30 before us. what is the regular order? the presiding officer: the question is on the ramos nomination. mr. leahy: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: is there any senator wishing to vote? is there any senator wishing to change their vote? if not, on this nomination the ayes are 89, the nays are zero, and the nomination is confirmed. on the previous -- under the previous order, the question is on the carter nomination. if there is no further debate, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the
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question is on the gilstrap nomination. if there is no further debate, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the question is on the christensen nomination. if there is no further debate,about all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it, and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order the motions to reconsider are considered and made and laid on fable. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that we proceed to a period of morning business, senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous
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consent the senate proceed to consideration of calendar 239. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 239, s. 384, a bill to amend title 39, united states code and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time, passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, if there are any statements they appear in the record as if read, and there be no intervening action or debate on this matter. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to consideration of s. res. 743. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: --. mr. reid: that's 343, mr. president. the clerk: commemoratingthe 84th birthday of the tinge of thailand on december 5, 2011. the presiding officer: without
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objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be greenwood, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider, there be -- be laid on table, and any statements appear at the appropriate places as if read. the presiding officer: without t objection, so ordered without objection. mr. reid: i'm told a bill by senator casey is due for a first reading. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will read the tieflt of the bill the first time. the clerk: s. 1944, a bill to create jobs by providing payroll tax relief for middle-class families and businesses and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask for the second reading but object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent -- the presiding officer: the bill will be read for a second time on the next legislative day. mr. reid: i apologize for interrupting you. i ask unanimous consent when the senate completes its business day it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, december 6, 2011,
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following the journal of proceedings journal, morning business be deemed expired and the time for the two leaders reserved for later in the day. in morning business until 1:00 a.m. with time equally divided and controlled by the leaders or their designees with the majority controlling the first half, republicans control the final half. following that morning business, i ask that we proceed to executive session under the previous order, finally that the senate recess from 12:30 to 2:15 to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: about noon tomorrow there will be a cloture vote on the nomination of caitlin halligan to be circuit judge for the district of columbia. if there is no further business to come before the senate i ask that we adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> up next, a look at options available for federal employees and their government health care plans. from washington journal, this is 40 minutes. >> host: every monday at 9:15 eastern is our feature segment "your money" when we put the spotlight on a federal program and how much it costs. today, we look at the cost of operating the health care program for those who work for the federal government. our guest is watton francis. thank you for being here. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> host: first of all, who does this cover? who are we talking about? >> guest: we're talking about roughly 3 million civilian
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federal employees, 2 million to 3 million, 1.5 federal retiree, and 4 million dependents for a total of 8 million people, the largest employer health insurance program in america. >> host: how's it compare to what we think of typical private man -- plans? >> guest: it's similar and different in another. they are the same plans you'd get if you work for ibm, general electric or a small company. it's blue cross, hmos, and the difference is though that federal employees have in most cities in america roughly 24 or 25 plans 20 choose from and private plans offer one ppo or one hmo plan and other high deductible plans. >> host: if you want to join the conversation, we have a line set up for federal employees. you can talk about your
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experiences with the health care program. 202-628-0184 for federal employees. if you're a republican, 202-733-002. democrats, 202-628-0205. you mentioned a lot of choices and selection. what is the range and how does the federal employee choose which health plan and benefit program working for them? >> guest: well, they spend a little or a lot of time depending. one of the ways i help them choose through checkbooks guide to health plans, we rate the plans for cost, people approach it different ways. some say i want the plan my doctors are in, and it my just be one plan. that drives that way. others are hmo lovers liking the managed care, the protection, the arranging of coordinated care.
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others can't stand that, want to go out of network and all the rest. a lot is driven by what people's preferences are. the main thing though, over time, is money, and the plans differ in oh well they cover you, and they differ in their premiums. turns out you can save a lot of money if you go to a plan with lower costs. right now, we're near the end of the federal open season, a one month period every fall, you pick the plan for next year, no preexisting conclusions, just join the plan that works for you next year, and people do things, maybe you're going to have a baby next year, 5 lot of coverage, choice, options, and flexibility for federal employees to vote with their feet as was mentioned in an earlier she. you get to pick your plan. >> host: author of the "checkbook guide to health care for federal employees." the fbhbp was a multiplan
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competitive system through a political accident resulting from pressures brought to bear by existing union and employee association plans. tell us the history here. >> guest: yeah, it's sort of odd. during world war ii, one of the ways the private companies increased wages and benefits was through health insurance, a salary freeze. federal government didn't bother or get around to it, so federal employees, during the 50s really had to do with private plans on their own, and they went to hmos creates just main bely for -- mainly for federal employees, a lot of plans that are still around today. we have the national association of letters carriers plan, the postal workers plan, and well, come, 1959 and the eisenhower administration finally got around for saying, whoop, maybe we need a benefits delay how large companies do, and the politics of the moment were such that there's a grandfather rule in politics. you don't do harm to people, you
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know, by taking away something you've already got. all the existing plansmented to stay in the program. their members wanted to stay in the program, and so really by just the accident of how this developed, the federal government didn't do what most private sector was doing then, 20 set up one single plan that everybody had to join, and so that's how it happened. >> host: let's here from mary from virginia, and she is a federal employee. good morning. >> caller: hi, good morning. i have a question in reference to what goes into capital. the actual allocations that federal employees have to pay because, as you know, we're in a pay freeze at this time, and the amount that federal employees have to pay in will increase, so typically what happens is federal employees in the washington, d.c. metro area tend to make far more, of course, than other federal employees, but the allocation that everyone
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has to pay in, it's rising, so who exactly determines how much the federal employee has to pay in because before i entered the federal government, i worked in the private sector, and it just seems that i paid far less and received the same benefits. can you exmain that? >> guest: sure. the answer is no one decide other than the employees themselves because the federal contribution towards your premium is based on the average of all the plans weighted for the number of employees in the plan, but it boils down to the federal government pays on average about 73% of the premium costs which is actually the same percentage as the average from the private sector as a whole. obviously, she was in a better plan than average in term of the employer contribution of benefit, but the neat thing here is that while there's a federal pay freeze going on, so everybody, within a step increase next year, they get 0 # extra in their wallet, but
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meanwhile, there's money on the table because people can switch from the plan they are in, typical family can save $2 # ,000, giving yourself a pay increase if you consider changing plans. lots of bargains. >> host: with plans like that, does that mean a decrease in services or i mean, how does it ultimately affect them? >> guest: not necessarily. it has to bear the cost of the people who enroll in it. beyond that, hmos are better at controlling costs than the ppo plans, so their premiums tend to be the same, but better if being more generous. high deductible plans have been around for five or six years now, and they offer great bargains. people have a health savings account and very good ben dpits. >> host: rose in georgia on the independent line. good morning, rose. >> caller: good morning. i have some corrections there.
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we were only given two choices, one which was blue cross, blue shield which we took. our out of pocket premium cost is almost $700 per month. that does not include any deductibles or copays or medications. that's on top of that $700 every month. >> host: you're a federal employee, rose? >> caller: retired, pension is $900, and i pay $700 for a monthly premium cost that does not begin to cover things. >> guest: she's not in the regular federal retiree program is all i can say because every federal retiree is offered a choice of never less than about 22 plans no matter where in the country they live. that's always the case, and premiums for -- she didn't say if she was self-or family, but even for family coverage, it's notv
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>> there are 15 plan choices with highly deductible plans, and 13 are consumer driven choices. >> guest: yes, over 200 plans. now, that's all over the country, and most are local hmos so any one federal employee only has about two dozen choices, but pretty much wherever you live,
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you have two dozen choices, and they always include a couple hmos, high deductible plans, actually there's three high deductible and three, four, or five consumer driven, and typically about 18 or 15 # or 18 fee-for-service prntion -- ppo plans. you get better benefits, less copayments or out of network to fee-for-service. >> host: we're talking about how the public money is spent. is it more expensive to the taxpayers to have such a range of options? does it matter at the end of the day to the bottom line? >> guest: actually it's cheaper, okay? the beauty of the program because it's competitive, not one size fits all and sort of, you know, plans compete for business and they have to do -- some mix of better benefits, lower costs, and better service to keep or increase enrollment, one of those three methods of
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competing is to keep the costs down. this program actually outperforms the private sector experience on average by a fair margin in terms of annual cost increases and over the last three or four years, it's outperformed medicare in health care. it's a sharp contrast. the government-run, ice controlling health plan used to be the case that everybody had to be in one plan. now with medicare advantage plans, modeled for the hbtp, they get a big choice too. >> host: susan, a federal employee here in washington, d.c., welcome. >> caller: hi. i wanted advice on an issue i'm r -- starting to sort out. looks like blue cross blue shield is changing its pharmacy. i've been using the preferred provider system, and i've got mailings with regard to the fact that chose cbs care mark as what
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looks like a preferred provider system, and i wondered if you can help me sort that out and give my advice on that issue. >> guest: okay. first, what blue cross did this year is what most do. they get bids on what are called pharmacy benefit management companies, pbms, to get a better deal for the enrollees, and that's how the plan works. it covers most all the chains, so i'm -- i have not actually checked. i doubt they are dropping giant from the network, but if they are, that might be a reason for you to change. what doesn't change is they maintain the same prescription drug benefit they have now, and it's a generous benefit, particularly for generics who pay almost nothing. >> host: if you're a federal employee, call 202-628-0124. >> caller: i don't want to talk about health care.
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>> host: what do you want to talk about? >> caller: i want to talk about the congress who is supposed to take care most of the law-abiding citizens this of country. >> host: what we're talking about now -- >> caller: just a min. >> host: give a a question that relates to his subject matter. >> caller: if you'd listen -- >> host: go for it. >> caller: i want every federal employee to do what they asked everybody else to do, take a 10% cut for every two years, and you'll take a big dig out of the federal budget and everybody can afford a 10% cut. >> host: we're talking about health care and health benefits program, is there a way to turn that into a question of what can happen for federal employees in a sense could there be a real cut to the benefits they get as a way of saving money? >> guest: there is a cut because there's a big freeze for federal employees, and because cost of reason and it goes up a
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couple percent next year, and a 3% salary cuts happens next year. it won't surprise me if it doesn't happen another year or two in a row. >> host: is there other ways to tighten the health care plan to lower money? >> guest: a contribution towards the premiums. it used to be the case they paid 60% of the preachup and through some complicated calculations made over the years, it wound up being 73% on average. well, federal government made a decision. let's lower it down to 65% or whatever. that would have, you know, that is a tradeoff between cuts health benefits or salary. there were proposals to cut benefits. the simpson-bowles commission recommended there's a garage call increase over time in the federal government contribution. >> host: a federal employee from north carolina. good morning.
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>> caller: good morning. >> host: welcome. >> caller: yeah. you know, i think we wouldn't have to be paying into our own retirement, everything was working great before the private sector unemployment went so bad. now that that revenue is gone, our -- we're having to pay into our own benefits which we've never had to do, and i think if 7,000 regulations got erased, that the administration has put in, then the private workers would go back to work, and the revenue would be there, and we wouldn't have this problem. ..
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welcome. >> caller: thank you. >> host: go ahead, you are on. >> caller: rma retired at gerdemann plebeian i have an hmo, united healthcare midwest, and the monthly premium jumps almost $100 to $443 in the 2012. without a doctor co-payments and drug copayments the premium alone accounts for 10% of my gross income. shouldn't there be some sort of limit put forth to prevent
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people from paying an exorbitant amount, and that's my question. >> guest: that is a great question. let me say first i'm sorry you face that premium increase. each plan has to cover the cost of people who enrolled. that's not just federal workers on any given area it may be a small fractions of that particular hmo obviously is on all the time so to speak and raise the premium to cover the cost, but the beauty of the system for federal employees is you control your cost the next year. if the plan has gone to high by a lower cost plan. there will be lower cost choices. you've got less than two weeks left. in december 12th. you need to spend the next week or ten days figuring out a better deal. you can save money, you could actually get a decrease. >> host: federal employee health benefits program of 2011
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by the numbers it provides $43 billion of health care benefits. it covers 8 million federal employees, retirees and dependents the average increase in the government premium is 4% and the enrollee is three per cent. pharmacy costs are 40% of the total program cost that comes from the office of personnel management. >> those are good numbers. they are corrected as a huge program. think about it if you take into account the co-payments people pay its about 50 billion-dollar year program. it's a huge federal program and its managed very successfully over time the degree to job in the year to year management drug cost of a high percentage of the program is those retirees are enrolled in medicare which is primary and because it pays the doctors and hospital bills but it's left with little to pay some drugs to take up a higher percentage but this controls prescription drug costs very well also.
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>> host: good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm a federal employee postal retiree on disability, and my health insurance premiums have jumped greatly white i'm paying 580 for the past year and i am with aetna and they're going to go to $895 a month. that is more than half of my income, my monthly income. and i searched for the plans they offer the postal employees that are only in my area. we only have like four hmo and they are all very high, way out of my reach and then i look at the of their fee-for-service program and they are all p.o., all expensive. the monthly premium may be low but when you go and to pay for certain items like having tests
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done or go to the hospital or something like that they are taking a big percentage, a chunk out of you. you have to pay 10% and some of these plants are the total cost which could be thousands of dollars so they don't have anything for us to choose from to offset these costs. they are just too high. each year this planet got to find another plan and so far with only a few days left i haven't been able to find anything. they don't give a postal employee or retiree is a good choice of the plan >> guest: she has the same open source traces as all federal employees and retirees so roughly two dozen plans to choose from the hmo in her area is too pricey and it sounds like they are she can find plans that have recently the same benefits, and i will give you an example in the second, at a lower premiums of that is what she
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needs to do. let me suggest in her particular case take a look at blue cross basic. it is a pps plan that keeps you in the network. you are used to that because your hmo keeps you in network. it has the same kind of co-payment structure that most have. you will pay like $10 or whatever for a prescription drug, $40 for a doctor's visit. it has a very good catastrophic protection benefit. it's an excellent example of the kind of choices you have. >> host: joanne mentioned she's a postal service affiliated. they actually want pulled of this program. why? >> guest: it's complicated. the postal service has a couple big problems. a list setup to run on the business basis that the congress didn't give it enough authority to do what it needs to do it can't close the post office without an act of congress which
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the trustee ridiculous restriction. they are suffering badly in the current economic climate partly as the internet people are sending e-mail's and writing first-class letters so the revenue is dropping, the of an ancient work force so they have their ausley on authority billion dollars they would have to pay under the current law to cover the cost of the future retirees and 40 billion has already been paid for the current and the only way they can think of to get that really bit taxpayer subsidy they are looking for is to pull out, so for the money durbin issue they claim they can run the program more and explained to the to and expensively but that is certainly not true and each workplace the are more expensive, they are benefiting from the same as other federal workers. >> host: if they pull out of the federal employee benefit as
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you mentioned one of the implications for the rest of the program? >> guest: not good because it is an 8 billion person pool which has a fair amount of leverage for example enticing them to participate in the program. if you are in a small city in america where postal workers are a big fraction of the work force covered by the plan you have to think twice about staying in the programs of the postal workers and the other workers may lose the ability to join plus it could be hugely disruptive as i mentioned earlier a lot of the plans are in fact postal worker plants but anybody can join them so people are going to see disruption and the irony is the postal worker premiums will have to go up at least 10% because of the structure of the work force. james is a federal employees joining us from illinois. good morning. >> caller: this has been bothering me. it's a simple question.
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i've been disabled pension for about 12 years now from the postal service. i have blue cross blue shield, and my question is why they will be offered to plans, self only and family. my wife and i don't have any children. why do they not offer a couples on the plan? >> guest: great question and i get asked that all the time to read a couple reasons. one is still law doesn't allow the adoption. it's part of the private sector and this particular law says we're going to do to kind of premiums sells or family of any size but let me tell you the reality is because you are older and you are more expensive people in their 50s for example cost twice as much on average as adults in the 20's and kids are cheap to cover savitt tromso if there was a couple's premium just for people who had no kids would actually be higher on
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average than the current family premium so sorry it's not available but you are lucky you don't have it. >> host: author of the checkbook guide health care plans for federal employees. let's hear from linda, a republican polling firm conwell connecticut. >> caller: hi, i wanted to ask your guest and a single retired teacher and i'm getting my health insurance through the school system. it costs me $630 a month which seems exorbitant to me. i'm thinking of moving out of the state but of course i have to keep the self insurance. i wondered if there's any resource to lower that cost and i will just hang up and listen. >> guest: i think she's an example of the federal believe program as a good program. she stopped whatever deal the school board cut in terms of retiree benefits to get paid 600 a month he were paying a lot. they are not subsidizing your
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premium very much of all. it's the only offer you one plan or to plans, you are stock. if he were a federal retiree as opposed to a school retiree, you would have to dozen as i mentioned and you could pick the plan to keep your costs down. so i have no particular suggestion to offer you, though i should say when you turn 65 and join medicare, you will find there's some inexpensive plan choices in medicare. there's medicare and vantage plans just like federal employee plans, hmo, pp know, fee-for-service and the premiums are often no ha year than the medicare part b which is $100 a month. >> host: here's a bit of news coming to us. channel 11 from the postal service cut means slower mail in 2012, and presented kutz by the surface would slow first plus delivery next spring and for the first time in 40 years eliminate
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the chance for stamp collectors to arrive the next day. and the postal service in particular. he's an e-mail that says the reason for the traces and prices the federal workers and retirees the government has huge bargaining power due to the size of the insurance pool and they are a reliable payer. the plan of the taxpayer paid in subsidized the situation must be downsized and downscaled or the government must offer the program to all. what do you think? i think the first part, is the e-mail correct in surmising why there are these choices? >> guest: back to the over 200 plans a lot of them only have a few thousand enrollees. what drives the cost down are the purchasing decisions made by the employees as they move from a plan to plan disproportionately the plans that offer better bargains. >> host: so the competition.
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>> guest: it is like a market competitive system and works and keeps costs down. was the next question? >> host: this writer said the plan the taxpayer subsidized should be downsized and downscaled or the government should offer it to everyone. >> guest: or the reputation policies both wages and other benefits adhered to and there are reductions being made and just not in this program at this point. the model for everybody it's been proposed as a model many times introduced in the congress to let all of the unemployed, uninsured americans join in a and more modest departures in the current system over the years as i mentioned the medicare advantage program is designed based on this under health reform the exchanges will be set up starting in 2014 are
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modeled also in large part after the. this is a proven success. >> host: let's go into that little bit more. so the last thing you mentioned was the health care law. if you have an insurance exchange marketplace essentially customer could have some ability to pick and choose and so making it a broad marketplace you create some incentives in the companies to lower what. >> guest: massachusetts already has an exchange, not the same as the if hbp or what is in the health reform all but a half-dozen copies in massachusetts each typically offering two or three plan options, so people in that state have 15 or 20 plans to choose from the have an open season like the federal employees to and they can go to the plans that offer a better deal. >> host: texas on the democrats' line, good morning. >> caller: seven months ago
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may be six new gingrich was on your plan. he gets his health care still from the federal government. why is that if he got fired or he quit in the private sector he wouldn't get what does he get it and other congressmen and senators get it? aye impression after five years these guys are vested and they can collect this and the health care after they leave office. why is that? >> guest: great question. in terms of the members of congress and the staff are in the same program as the rest of all federal employees on pretty much the same terms and conditions did the same premiums, on average they pay 73 present and they pay 27% and so on. i have no personal knowledge of newt and gingrich's health care coverage but it's possible under the law he was able to retire and keep his health insurance. the twist under the health reform, one of the provisions is
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the starting in 2014 members of congress will have to join the health insurance exchanges just like the uninsured but for now they are in the same plan in the sample and they suffer the same or benefit from if you pick the same choices as everybody else. >> host: employee of the federal government in memphis. hello, sheila. >> caller: i need $38,000 a year and people always talk about the government employees and what they make. really if the government employees the united states would just shut down. as far as the insurance plan, they take i think that would also khan [inaudible] thank you. >> guest: that is an option. actually with the postal service is proposing is to require all postal employees to go on
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medicare. most federal and retirees like medicare and it becomes the primary payer. they then pay their insurance premium they get a better deal a rapper non-policy after 65 in most plans. the improvements made in the way the program is designed as it relates to medicare but medicare for all was a whole different issue and you sort of now go to i don't think very many people, certainly not the congress or the president have proposed that kind of radical reform. >> host: tom innocuous city iowa. republican. welcome. >> caller: good morning. i have a couple of quick questions. one is the average age of the plan, second, why are the blue cross blue shield standard rates the same across the country when the cost of health care is different? and the third one is my understanding is that opm will be required to provide
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multistate qualified health plans and the private sector decides not to participate is in that kind of a backdoor way to have a public auction? i will hang up and listen to your answers. >> host: you are a well informed collar. it's about the multistate plans to. most of the plans in this system what i call the national plans have been in for close to 50 years. they've been around a long time. the hmos come and go some have been around for six years. they've all been around a kind of forever. but the others come in or leave as the health insurance market changes. there is not free entry for the other national plans. the national plans have a single premium wherever you live you play the same. it's a national poll that way. there's something that they
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differ in that part of the country. medicare costs differ widely but that isn't necessarily the case for other health care and indeed, there are some disadvantages on the national premium but there are advantages, too. if you live in a high-cost area you need better subsidies than if you are somewhere else. multistate, when the health reform was enacted it was a big push for the public plan which was sort of like the medicare for all plan at least to be offered to everybody if not the only option something everybody would get a chance for. that was not acceptable and the compromise was struck and the compromise includes a couple features. one is a will be the co-op plan starting in 2014, and there's going to be opm is supposed to manage the multistate plans, and it's not clear it is quite be easy or feasible to set that up but it's sort of and in between
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option may be something that has this incredible track record of managing the program will indeed they are running a couple feature in health reform that's currently operated by one of the plans this week to see how that plays out the basic point i would make in general is we have a well functioning existing system that's competitive that keeps costs down, keeps benefit choices where people want them coming and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. >> host: question coming from email for our guest. justin right time a federal retiree and on medicare. since medicare is now my primary insurer why is my insurance premium for the federal health benefit plan malt lower now than the secondary paying less than my health care cost? >> guest: great question
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again. going back to the pool all current federal employees and retirees everywhere in the country are in the same pool. this is 20 some things that think they are more aware and have zero costs and it includes a few 80 or 90-year-olds who don't have any medicare coverage of all and retirees aged 55 to 65 who were very expensive but don't have much to care and those age 65 and up who he looked typically they will get it for free that sort of automatic but most of them but not all of them elect to take part be. it's true there's no special deal in terms of premiums for the goods. so, those who elect to take this are paying more. the targeting typically the extra benefit. i mention this was kind of a wraparound benefit so you get your premium back. the other devotee a ditch for those people as they can go out of network. >> host: let's hear from a democratic color in dallas.
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hello there. >> caller: high. i just want to know i'm a federal employee and my question is why would you decrease our pay and then increase our health care? and all of us don't make the same amount of money across the board. why would you do this to federal employees? that doesn't make any sense. it's like it's our fault that the economy is bad. >> guest: another great question in sharp contrast to the earlier caller. for whatever reasons the congress and president made decisions about federal compensation over the next few years, and they include noeth pay increase the cost of living increase for federal and employees. health costs do go up so on average as you mentioned earlier the employees' share premium and the program is going to go up
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3.8% but that's not a very big increase and by giving back to the point i made earlier you can shop around and find a less expensive health care plan and you may be able to save a thousand dollars or more. that's like giving yourself an increase. >> host: stephanie is a federal employees joining from utah. >> caller: we live in a rural area in utah and we have liked replants available in our town and because it is a rural area the doctors aren't attracted to the area and we don't have any p.o. available and we have to travel 300 miles otherwise you have to be like 80% of the cost. so i have to disagree that we have hundreds of choices of cheaper and available costs because we only have like three and they are all national plans. can you comment? >> guest: i can only say there are roughly two choices for
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every federal and please anitere if you live in alaska or timbuktu i hope you have those choices. now, the problem i think you face is different and if you are really not sure about that, go online to www.opm.gov/insure and you will get a very excellent exposure to all the choices you have, or you can use the check book web site for that matter what your problem is different. if you live in a rural area the problem typically is there is a shortage of physicians and other providers and the plan networks may not include the ones that are there because the plans are trying to squeeze dollars out of the network. the deal was the pay the doctors less would bring more patience that works great. it doesn't work so well in the rural areas. what i advise people in situations like yours or you have a very unusual health condition or something next year ask the providers you want to
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use common on the door and say what health care plans are you in and it's very likely be at least blue cross they are not all so you may have a tough situation. >> host: the author of the checkbook and dhaka to health plans for federal employees. that web site is guidetohealthplans.org.
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earlier today in the senate, for judicial nominees were approved and tomorrow a procedural vote on another nominee for the d.c. circuit. later in the week the senate is expected to take up the nomination of richard cordray to head the bureau which republicans pledged to block. on the floor today, pennsylvania payroll tax cut proposal and look.n a >> thank you mr. president. i'm here to speak about legislation and introducing today that a will prevent a hugr tax hike from hitting working families across america and inns pennsylvania. as the clock continues to takeea down, it is imperative that we come together, democrats and b
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republicans, members of both parties and both chambers and passed legislation to providenge more take-home pay by cutting payroll tax and as we did in 2010. the legislation i'm introducing is a compromise offered designel to bridge the gap and get at least 60 votes here in ther united states senate.nd the legislation is fully paidhar for and includes measures that t have received bipartisan support in the past. we can no longer afford to midde americans in order to protect the wealthiest few across the country.ies this legislation will help th cur working families by extending ct the current payroll tax cut and expanding to a 3.1% level. 3.1% reduction in the payrollou tax.he in essence what we are talking abut is cutting the payroll tax.
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in half as it relates to end we use. small businesses will benefit from this legislation by benefie indirectly from the additional money in the pockets ofthose americans across the country. ae million dollars should help in a carrying the burden, a portion of the burden. that's why the surtax is still w in this legislation but will now be only 1.9% compared to the 3.25% in the earlier version of my legislation.ddition, i in addition i've offered a few more of sets that have receivedt bipartisan support. so the bottom line is just as the first bill was that i offered, this legislation is a indeed paid for. the tax cut is an e essentialcrd ingredient to job creation and economic growth in 2012.
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economists and forecasters from markets toca barclays' capital c the backroom economic advisers all have emphasized the tax cut will accelerate growth in 2012. without it, economic growth will slow and job creation will takei a hit. mark zantia of moody's and politics has said without thento payroll tax cut will likely go into the recession, and of quote. congress should act quickly to expand tax relief and remove the uncertainty in this holiday season about whether the taxes will go up in the new year. more take-home pay to keep thent economy growing. especia that's what we need right now and especially in the year aheai so i would encourage all of ouri
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colleagues here in the senate al well as in the house to pass the legislation to continue and to expand the cut in the payroll tax.
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next a look improving state budgets and lessons that can be applied to the federal government. from washington journal, this is 45 minutes. >> host: deputy director the national governors' association. good morning. >> guest: good morning. good to be here. >> host: states facing 40 billion in deficits we have very special phone lines said devotee would like to join the conversation. if you were in the eastern or central time zone is (202)737-0001. if you were in the mountain, pacific or farther west you can call (202)737-0002. barry anderson the national
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governors' association has a new survey. what is the headline, what is the take away? >> guest: it's the big squeeze. states are doing better with votes with respect to revenue and spending than they had been the year or two past but they are not back to the 2008 level and there's a number of factors that make the outlook very concerned. right at i mean first of all fund grants to states get from faeroe government are going to be cut for sure to read in the 2012 levels are already going down and the sequestered they are facing in 2013 is likely to cut them even further. then the recovery act funding is coming down, too. so the amount of money coming in from the fed is almost certainly going to be lower than it is today. but it's worse than that. medicate states continue to go up because the economy has been
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poor, it goes up because of new entitlements, it goes up because the requirements of the affordable care act but mostly the costs go up because the cost for medicaid still has on a per-capita basis increased. maybe the cost controls the federal government have put in will work but they haven't started to work yet. but it's not over. that's the squeeze from the federal side. in the local government side, the local governments are asking for more brough and more and states understandably in the past have had an opportunity or have taken the opportunity to rationalize the amount of money they've been given to the local government but now they are being squeezed both in the federal government and the local government, so it is a very worrisome time. on top of all of this, it's really the economy that matters and if the economy improves things might be better but as my
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good friend was on just before was saying the economy, the director of the economy is uncertain right now, too. >> host: our guest is with of the national governors' association you mentioned medicated let's look at numbers from your organization this is medicaid spending by the states in fiscal 2011 we are looking at $400 billion that is a 10% increase from the prior fiscal year and accounts for 20% of total spending and it's the single largest element of the state's. >> and there isn't any pro cast that is going to get better. the cost of care in the country are continuing to grow. the affordable care act did take some actions and maybe some those might have some benefit but that's pretty much in the future. it's not going to be this year with the next fiscal year so the concern about medicaid towards all of those above all others and there are concerns about
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education and collection and pensions and things like that but medicare is the biggest element for the states. >> host: and her friend, where are they coming from, how is it happening? >> guest: the economy is doing better than it was a cadet of the recession so there is no doubt about it, and if the economy continues to grow the state revenues will also grow even though there's been some temporary tax is the states have put in place that will expire in the future, still the revenue will go. states on like the federal government i think really did a very good job on average of controlling their spending. they looked at the items that they could control even medicaid to some extent and really got a better handle on them. states, as you know, are primarily the concern with not only medicaid but also with collection expenses, transportation expenses, education expenses, and states
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in general got a better handle the last two or three years, so what you are seeing and what we have seen and it is a good trend is some improvement in revenue and a little bit better control of spending. >> host: we're looking at the general spending on the billions of dollars you can see this chart shows the spending was outpacing revenue back in 2008 and 2009 quite significantly had more than 2010 and looking at fiscal 2011 they are about evenly paid. >> guest: it is a little bit better but you can see from the chart we are not back to the 2008 levels and as a percentage of gdp spending has dropped considerably and is still relatively low. but again, it is a tough sign on the one hand and another sign that the states have done a little bit better job, a much better job of them controlling their spending to get >> host: as we look at 2012 we see the spending outpacing.
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>> host: >> guest: in the picture right now is better than it was in the last year or two. the concern is in the time forward with the federal government and the state government from the economy things might not be in proving that much. >> host: good morning. >> caller: good morning mr. anderson. a bit of a. of the political actions of the american legislative exchange council been a resident in wisconsin and what has happened here and through all the other states where there was a republican governor in the house, the reactions in ohio, here in wisconsin, michigan, i am wondering if you could comment on what is done in
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relationship to how things are done. this seems there was a severe action here in wisconsin where they were going to a recall caused such a dilemma and for your position of looking at all of the state's, what, and you might make in that regard, and what it has to do with the fiscal responsibilities that have come out of the american legislative exchange council. >> host: let's get a response from our guest. >> guest: i am not aware specifically of what a.l.e.c. has recommended but i can tell you in answer to your question and it is obvious in the report one of the major expenses that all of the state's half are for the public employees. every state, not just the two or three you mentioned that every state has been looking at the
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type of compensation and the number of employees and the other conditions in police work. it's a difficult situation for states to be. the employees, it's not the governor is whether they be from one side or the other necessarily want to cut employees or the compensation but they are faced with a fiscal squeeze i've been talking about. some are more successful than the one to talk about all states have taken a look at it and if you look of the members here, some have had more success than others. this is similar to what we are seeing here in washington with the federal government. the cost of the government employee is a very major factor whether it be from the federal, the state or the local aspect. so what you're seeing is an effort over and over to try to look to see if they can get a better picture on this. one of the tables in the back of the document even talks about some of the different ways that
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the default on a state-by-state basis. >> host: order the political implications that have happened with governor scott walker? is this going to make it harder for the governor's to try to change the way that the public sector employees are dealt with? where do you see that going? >> guest: i look at this as a negotiation if you will come in and because it is 50 states, every state doesn't have the same level. governor locker me if pushed too for the recall vote as sort of an indication of that and there are other states that may have gone a little bit too far and have to take back. but again, if you look at the kind of changes that are made in the states outside of wisconsin and others you will see that almost every other state is doing something along these lines. it's not going to be easy. it may have made things a little harder but the trend is pretty clear that there has to be a better reform, a better
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rationalization of compensation for the state employees. >> host: the labor statistics terrapin 455,000 testified state and local governments over the past year. >> guest: you know, there was a lot of news just this past couple of days on the draw with the unemployment rate, and there was an increase in employment if you look behind the numbers i figure was nearly 120,000 but under that you will see there was a drop of government employment by 20,000. a lot of that was the post office, but the states are still in a rationalization of looking at how to get more value for the state dollar and how to have a better compensation package for their state employees. it's a difficult, difficult assignment but the states are making progress on a. >> host: eugene or again, good
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morning. >> caller: good morning. i have a couple things. i'd like to know what the fiscal fantasy is because our governor tends to talk in platitudes and never give any reality and in the newspaper comes in and says exactly the opposite on the budget here in oregon. but i'm on disability. i get medicaid assistance and everything else, but the reason i'm on a system is because plight was a guinea pig for the pharmaceutical companies in which they signed contracts with me and the states said they would pay if anything happened to me. well, things happened to me and now i live with what they term a pharmaceutical dementia. why are the pharmaceutical company is not being directly
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billed for all these costs when they get to actually write it off because the tax loophole? thank you very much. >> guest: i like the phrase fiscal sanity. i haven't heard it quite that way before. i didn't memorize all the 50 states in the fiscal survey. it is on the web. my recollection is oregon is doing okay. it has -- i like to think back in 1992 in the presidential election when at that time governor clinton used the phrase it's the economy, stupid. but that applies as much as it does today. a lot of what matters for oregon and other states is how well the economy is growing and then what they can do managing the amount of the money they get and through the taxes and controlling their expenses. so looking at the fiscal sandy i hope you'll get it in detail in the report there are tables
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behind it also to give more detail. with respect to your question on the pharmaceutical companies, that is much more of a federal question that you highlighted a very important factor, and that is that we hear the national governors association have to work and do homework every closely with the federal government to make sure the state's perspective is considered when they look at programs such as medicare and medicaid. too often the federal government has the tendency to try to address its own fiscal picture by lumping the mandates and the costs on to the states and so we monitor very closely and interact daily with phyllis here in washington to make sure there is a fair treatment between the two. but the problems you highlight in the federal and we have to work with the federal government to make sure come out with a good resolution for all. >> host: deputy director of the national governors' association, the web site is
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nga.org. he was mentioning the report looking at what he termed the big squeeze getting squeezed at the federal level with their budget deficits. florida, and he joins us. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'd like to always like c-span. you know what i think the problem really is? the problem is they let these big companies go overseas. now when these companies are in this country hiring people, they have to pay -- people have the medicare, the social security and the company pays the other half. now these guys overseas they are paying china and 50 cents an hour and we have no jobs here because they help pull the jobs of. this is the problem.
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i'm not going to say to i think the devotee else's on the program, i know that's the problem is. they said all the jobs overseas. >> host: talk about that, jobs overseas. what does it mean for the state and the revenue they get to put in their pocket? >> guest: thank you for the question to be applied glad to be here. up until recently i was in the international world both at the imf and at the organization for economic cooperation and development, so we got to give look at it from that perspective not just from the u.s. perspective but also the receiving countries and you mentioned china not just the u.s. perspective also but from that of the european countries if of building cars, making clothes, whatever, and if one country can do it more efficiently than other than that is the country that should be
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doing it. i tell you though, after nine years of looking both at the u.s. and overseas and actually more optimistic about the u.s.. we may not be able to do more of this elementary things as cheaply as the chinese or others if we cannot but up to devotee here and a lot of innovation, an awful lot of flexibility. more of the productivity figures have dropped to late. the u.s. has actually been pretty well even coming out of the decision of the better productivity. so i'm not quite the pessimist but was indicated in the earlier question to read a little bit to the contrary i think in a more flexible and adaptive we are we won't be doing the same things we did in the decades past, but we will be giving i think different things and different things that can still keep people employed heat and profitably so. >> host: bernie, good morning. >> caller: good morning, c-span. thank god for c-span.
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i watched the first governors conference when the new governor's sat and governor hickenlooper was the only governor that didn't swear, almost swear, that he wouldn't touch education as a means of confronting the budget deficit we have in colorado, and yet he took $30 million out of the budget as soon as he could. i am the executive to lead of the education foundation of the colorado national. i reach out daily to the foundations and trusts to get money so we can send dependent kids to college, and we've been largely successful. but many of the foundations say we can't donate things directly affect or do not directly affect our work community. education is the passport to the future and all the other things
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we talk about really are not meaningless but unless we address the issue of the country being 28 on the planet of the industrial nations and education they are not going to solve any of the other problems. medicaid, not any of the social security issues and the cost of health care. when we educate our young people so they can do this work. let's get a response from our guests. >> guest: a thing called them absolutely believe in education but as i was by the international experience one of the freezes the was most difficult to translate from english to the other language was bang for the buck, but that is what the governors are trying to do. i you have to look below just the absolute funding levels and see what we get out of it. i think the states are all around the country and the school districts that will get what they get for their
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education dollar and say can we get a better degree of education, can we provide a longer term and more reliable the education for our students with either the same or maybe with even a little bit less money and as a lot of governors are doing that, and i guess that i have been to believe i don't think we should define how well we do on education just by the aggregate amount of money that we spend on it. so i'm not familiar exactly with what governor hickenlooper is doing in colorado or in the other states and education, but i know every one of the mystique and a careful look at it trying to as i say get a better bank for the buck. >> host: let's hear from john in virginia. good morning. thank you for taking my call. i don't know where to start but i can tell you something to read today what's going on what i've seen as an immigrant who came to the country 30 years ago we have politicians who are corrupted
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and corporate who invest in the petitions, but the reality of it here is i am crying inside that this country, people slash democratic and republican and those corrupt politicians are taking advantage of by the people, if this country goes down i don't care whether you're a democrat or republican we will all go down. it is a sad day that we are the lowest, the previous caller who just called who said that our education is going bought of and one more thing i want to say, as an immigrant, most of you think that the government should stay out of the reality is americans don't know what they have. see the country with 22 years that has had no government how they operate we need something that is good for our country. forget about democrat and republican and get rid of this politician who becomes in 30
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years doesn't care about america, just who is first. >> host: let's get a response from the guest and the national governors' association does of course represent governors of both parties, independent governors in the election subtle but your election as governor. >> guest: the republicans are called the arts and democrats are called the bees. i personally am not an r or d. i am a speed and by that i take a careful look at what is spent on the taxes in the aspect of the governing in general, and i also mention my international experience, john. you take a look at what is happening in europe now i know there's a lot of criticism and a lot of criticism that is justifiable about our system here that is difficult and problematic as our system here i wouldn't trade it for that what they have at europe at all. the fact that we are facing
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significant problems of the state and the federal level doesn't mean that other systems are facing those problems better than we are. yes it is a difficult time coming and when one looks at the political process particularly here in washington pretty much all you hear is about the conflict and the differences of opinion and of the system it can be improved. there is no doubt about it. but still, i wouldn't trade the system for another. i think we ought to look at the reforms and not to disregard it. >> host: peery anderson is the governors' association director. prior to working at in she he was a budget of faizal and the international monetary fund and served as director of the budgeting public expenditures division of the organization for the cooperation and development. and as you look at what's coming down the pike in the federal level but congress has in store is there a concern about the federal government trying to get more from states, trying to get
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more from you and increasing what you've called? >> guest: absolutely. in fact it is in three different ways if you will. i mentioned the health care, the fact that health care is a joint federal and state program, cost of health care moving up. there is concern that we monitor to make sure as the costs go up and does congress considers legislation they don't save by dumping on the states. there's been discussions in the past on that. we've been able to stop them for the most part and we will continue to monitor that. second dimension the cuts to the appropriations in the year fiscal 2012 and the sequester that states and federal government or phasing in 2013. our view here is that we try to monitor that to make sure that federal government doesn't put the federal grants to the state and local governments at the very bottom of the perils of
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when those cuts are made to gransta the state and local government or the first floor cut. we think if the cuts are made they're ought to be a further judgment in taking a look at in a very equitable manner to see what can be done the best and states frequently are those who our best in terms of delivering the services. finally, much of the discussion in the past and i think in the future is going to be about federal taxes. a lot of those provisions that concern federal taxes can have a direct impact on state taxes. some tied to federal government and other provisions in the federal government such as the deduction for interest on the status of local bonds can have figured it impact so in those three ways we are monitoring very closely working with this federal government to make sure that the fiscal situation there
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doesn't have a disproportionate impact in the 50 states. >> host: michael joins from atlanta georgia. good morning. >> caller: i just a quick question. the guy from whatever country talking about both of their houses, think that's the wrong angle. what george bush was getting ready to pass the 3 million-dollar tax cut democrats, teachers, people on the street said it was open to destroy the economy. the media, c-span, no one even to the into the arguments like we were twa would have been impacted the states come impacted the counter programs it happened then we fought the war meant without paying for them and people try to make the issuer about it. then people occupy will trigger getting hit upside the head by people standing out with president obama's speeches with
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guns but no action. me to start looking at it, called a spade a spade. we are in this problem for one reason. cardinal people's health programs, heating assistance, cutting education, this makes no sense wire rich people were not like to make all their money by themselves and people didn't get out and help them or their employees, teachers, educating their employees. elizabeth warren have a right. >> guest: michael, my experience in 40 years of working in budgeting both on the u.s. national level, at the state level, and the international level the trend is clear budgets no matter where become more and more complex and that seems to be pretty much by design of a politician that their spending money but a lot of times they don't want to let you know. so people like us at in ga and we're used to work elsewhere try
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to explain what has happened but it is a very confusing thing. i would suggest that when you look at the government budget with you are from the national level or the state level, you look at it in simplistic terms. budgets generally take money out of the group that is working and give it to those that are either too old to work or too young to work and how efficiently it does that is in one sense very much of a measure of how a successful budget is. your question is from to the attention that in the one since we have been spending too much perhaps on the that transfer and not getting enough to promote the economy. how much should we spend on the older generation? and how much should we be spending to promote education? because in the long term, our education as was talked about before is going to be the reason why the country continues to
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grow. so this intergenerational transfer as we call it in budgeting is critically important. i suggest that when you look at spending, whether it be from the current administration were previous administrations or even at the states, you'll get a share see how much is coming out of those that are working and going to those retired or those that are too young to work. >> host: barry anderson is with the national governors' association. we have a new report. the siskel survey -- what's your from georgia and wallace north carolina. >> caller: yes. good morning. are you today? >> host: good morning triet >> caller: i have a question for your guest. i was wondering why the national governors' association does not stand in the take to task over federal government who lies to us on a daily basis. case in point you turn on your tv, turn on your radio and on a daily basis we are being told
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that the unemployment rate is 8.5, or 9.5. i challenge the american people go to any unemployment office. if they will sit down and have a meeting with the director of that office they will look and you and laugh. this is not true, they will tell you. they are not counting the people that have already exhausted their unemployment, and nobody wants to hear this. why does not the governors' association take federal government to task on this? we are being lied to on a daily basis. i will take my comments off the air. thank you. ..
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which of course our governors want to know about but more importantly than that, a lot of the increase in that employment and a decrease in the unemployment rate are for two factors that need to be taken into account when considering it. one is the seasonal workers that are being hired for the christmas season and the temporary aspects. well, i hope those workers stay around but maybe this increase in employment won't be a permanent one and will only last a month or two or something like that. but more importantly and getting directly at what you are saying, george, is the fact that a lot of the reason why the unemployment rate dropped is because a good number of people
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stopped looking for work. well, that is not the real thing we want to see and that is not really the thing that helps the state or federal government grow, so with respect to looking beyond the statistics and talking about it, the systems we have here, the media that we have here a i actually think do a good job of it and call to attention to the administration and the congress how statistics can be misused and what they really mean. >> host: let's talk about stimulus funding to states and look at some of the numbers. in fiscal year 2010 there were $51 billion that went to states. the allocation and fiscal year 2011 was $51 billion that is shrinking dramatically. fiscal year 2012, $3 billion. can states ask for more money? >> guest: well, we have been talking about here how successful programs are whether they be education programs or recovery programs.
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sure states can ask for more money and, but i think in today's economic and fiscal environment and with the assessment of the success of the recovery act still very much in doubt, i don't think that is a likely story. in fact, quite the contrary. i think that we are all looking at a decreasing size of the pie and when you look at that, if the federal government is going to be spending less, then what you want to do is spend more on those programs that work best. part of the nga is the center for best practices and that is exactly what we tried to do there, take a look at those programs that work best. so no, don't think we are going to be going there to say let's have a new recovery act. unless they go with another $800 billion or something like that. within the appropriations that the congress makes we are going to be very strong to say look,
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here are programs that work better than others. when you talk about cutting, cut others places. don't cut me. >> host: flint, michigan. good morning. >> caller: good morning. good morning berry. >> guest: good morning. >> caller: my problem is the new governor of michigan taxed retirees pensions to $1.8 million then he supposedly supposedly -- the thing he was going to do was give this money to do help businesses employ more people. now, as of now, i don't think that we have employed any more people and he is still sitting on his $1.8 billion. but why is he going after the retirees? my opinion is that i am going to move out of here because if he is going to take my pension i can't afford him and i think
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that's the reason why they are exempting the recall of him too because he went after the retirees. >> guest: michigan faces very difficult problems. we have worked with them, recognizing that they have done a pretty good job relative to a couple of years ago of getting their fiscal picture in much better shape than it was. yes i was aware that they imposed a tax on retirees. my only suggestion to you is before you pack your bags you better look to where you are going to move because i believe most statesdays, almost all states tax retirees now so you had better be careful, not that they all do but with respect to what he did with revenues as was pointed out in our fiscal survey, michigan was in very difficult situations two or three years ago. they have restored a much more fiscal sanity, a better picture, fiscal picture for their state right now. just to get back to that level
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took a lot of effort and very difficult efforts like the ones you were talking about before. it is unfortunate and i i know u and others got used to a certain way and i know others around the country have done that too. unfortunately the fiscal situation we face at the state level, at the federal level, even at the local level is going to demand changes. >> host: our guest barry anderson mentioned the fiscal state governors association recently put out. let's go to a question that paul asked on twitter. some states could raise money by increasing taxes on the altar rich something the federal government won't currently do. talk about the leeway or the ability that states have to make their own decisions. >> guest: the previous caller from flint, michigan just talked about, i think he was saying at a 1.8% tax on his retirement benefits was prompting him to consider moving.
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and understandably, americans do a very good job of voting with their feet. that's perhaps a nasty statement but actually that helps the country because if one state gets out of balance or one employment area gets out of balance and people move to where there is better employment. with respect to attacks on the superrich, you have to take a look at what that would mean because that might mean not an increase in revenues but rather more and more of the rich who are very very mobile and just taking their income and their residence in moving to a state where there are no taxes or less taxes. it is an clear that attacks on the superrich or whatever can solve the problems of the state. it is better to take a look at what a state's total tax package is. whetted stat -- tax structure is on all the people across the income scale including retirees and the superrich, what its tax
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structure is on corporate. i know there is competition right now between illinois and indiana on corporate taxes where indiana is trying to attract corporations from illinois to move across the border because of lower tax rates. that is going to happen, that competition is going to happen throughout the country so when a state the state takes a look at its tax structure it had to do so, recognizing that it's in a very competitive situation vis-à-vis other states. >> host: let's hear from chad and priceline california. good morning. >> caller: good morning to both of you. there is a case of medicare fraud. the office of management, budget enrichment in 2008 said there was $23.7 billion in improper payments in 2007/08 and then another issue was that they paid
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478,500 claims totaling $92 million from 2000 to 2007 that included payments of 16,500 to 18,240. >> host: can you give us a sense of where you are going with this, with these numbers? >> caller: give me a second. those were paid to deceased physicians. here's the question. what is your guest doing to combat medicare fraud in the states because, if that were the case, if it were down 20 or a manageable figure that would result in millions of dollars, i'm sorry, billions of dollars, more billions being available to use in an effective useful manner. >> guest: chad, the budget control act of 2011, the act that was passed in early august to get us out of the debt limit
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situation, recognize that there was fraud in medicare, which medicare is a federal program. medicaid is the joint federal state programs. recognized there was fraud in medicare and medicaid, social security and others and pass something as part of that bill called program integrity funding, the idea to provide a specific amount of money that isn't going to be sequestered or cut to specifically get at the fraudulent payments made in these programs and take actions to reduce them. now this is not primarily a state responsibility but state certainly want to work with the federal government particularly in the medicaid area to make sure that the monies that are spent by the federal government and the state is done so in a non-fraudulent manner. so, the monies i'm talking about for program integrity, i
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continue to monitor that because that will not be cut in the appropriations or by the sequestered in the months ahead. >> host: burlington, iowa, thomas joins us. welcome. >> caller: yeah, hi, how are you doing? i just wanted to ask who appointed you to your office and i just want to see what the governors, the 34 or five that are republicans have cut the budget in our mostly in the schools. i mean, enormously. you look at walker being impeached. look at all these guys that are going to be impeached. everybody's going to come after them, all the people, the 99 years, everybody. the tea party is over with. the party is over and now we are going to take back over the country either way it goes. thank you. >> guest: the national governors association is run by the 50 governors, no surprise and there is an executive
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committee that just appointed a new executive director and the executive director named me as his deputy. with respect to, and the executive committee is composed of nine governors, think it is five republicans and four democrats at what the national governors association tries to do and i think is done very successfully in the past is operate very much in a bipartisan way. taking into account those the views of the democrats and the republicans. and as i say, that fits me to a tea because i am not in auer or a d. with respect to your comments on education funding and what the governors have done, i think governors again across the board, both the r's and the deed -- d have been looking at the education budgets as well as those of medicaid and elsewhere so i don't that it's fair to say just those on one party have cut them and not the other.
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but the thing you really should look at thomas again is not just the amount of money they have spent at the bang for the buck. what are we getting out of the money that we have spent? can we get as good if not better educational results of the same or even less money? where does the money go to? do we spend far too much on functions that can be cut to some extent or rationalized and spend more on science, mathematics and other things that are going to be more important in the future? so i really suggest to you thomas, you look beyond just the numbers and see what we get. >> host: very anderson with the national governors association where he served as deputy director. we have been talking about the reports, the fiscal survey and you can find that at the web site nga.org. thank you so much for being with us this morning. >> guest: good to be with you.
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tonight on "the communicators" a look at federal spectrum policy with dale hatfield the commerce department spectrum management advisory committee. he will discuss the choices facing broadcasters, telecoms, congress, the presidents and the fcc. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> television can be a teacher and if we are going to have a debate on television in the courtroom and you drew the affirmative side, you can make probably more positive points.
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both leaders called for a new european union treaty that would include stricter oversight of government budgets and would include automatic sanctions for countries with deficits over 3% of their gdp. here is a 15 minute portion of the news conference surrounding their meeting. ♪
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joined in the newsroom buyer europe editor to pick apart what they said. they haven't really suggested anything new, have they? essentially merkel has managed to twist sarkozy's arm. >> you are right, of course is always the details, the devil is in the details as you state but from what we hear merkel and sarkozy have a convincing plan which they will present to their colleagues before the summit which is due to take place on thursday in brussels. is they want to move fast which means in the 27 european members don't want to buy this treaty, well we will be happy to do it among ourselves which means among the 17 euros on numbers. they're leaving an option, this is a matter of course particularly towards the u.k.. does the u.k. want to jump on the bandwagon or on the contrary willet refrained from signing up for this new deal? we will have to see. they are leaving all doors open, all options open but if the
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others aren't interested we will take it among ourselves because we have the responsibility of saving the euro and by doing so of saving europe. now what is in this treaty? they say we want sanctions against budget sinners. this means first of all that any country whose deficits are above 3% which is the current level and the stability and growth fact, will be punished. we don't understand at this stage by home but we understand that it could well be that the european commission. we also understand both leaders agreed the european court of justice will have a say in this. merkel, because this is really her idea, said the court of justice must verify the conformity of the rules. sarkozy a bit on that issue as you heard he said the court of justice will not have the right or the power to cancel the budget. but the european court of
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justice is involved in the plan. they want the golden rule to be enshrined in the constitutions of every state neither the 17 or the 27 if they will agree to adopt this new treaty. what for? well to count debt and deficit in the constitution. what else do they say here? they say that they want to move very fast. they will of course on thursday whether everybody is ready to buy this new plan or whether it will be only among the 17. the treaty should be ready by march and then ratified by the country and mostly because there are number of 3-d is -- when countries were able to lock this they would want to change the rules, the majority rule so that we need a majority of 85% that of course to prevent one single country from blocking the entire treaty and last but not least
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and it's also a very german point of view but leader said eurobonds are not the solution. we need to enforce, to enshrine budgetary discipline within the commission in every single member state via the so-called golden rule and only after that can we think of eurobonds but clear the messages don't expect eurobonds -- we need to rebuild europe to make sure we avoid the mistakes of the past. >> do you think this plan will restore confidence in the eurozone? >> i think it's a very strong signal. certainly the market wants it to see that leaders are determined and by seeing that they are ready to move very fast and by finding the route of majority they are giving of course the markets and also the united states who are watching this crisis very closely that indeed if of course the other leaders think that this is a good time because after all -- coast be
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president sarkozy -- up. >> we have to see reaction from countries such as italy and spain. it's important however the markets were waiting for eurobonds to signal here was very rare. is not a solution by the stay. very little was said about the role of the european central bank. we know there is still a lot of disagreement between germany and france. france thinks the european central bank should use its unlimited resource to act as a lender of last resort, bit like the u.s. federal reserve. we didn't care much about what they understand is there is a tacit agreement between merkel and sarkozy. the deal is, let's say the ecb is independent. we don't want to intervene. we don't want to meddle in the policies of the ecb and then the ecb is if you want has the power or the right to do whatever it thinks is needed. ie at the moment buying bonds from spain or from italy to help those countries is borrowing
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costs costa been rising at the moment. will the markets be reassured? first of all jessica, who are the markets? we will have to see whether they are -- i have to say this is a rather comprehensive package of measures. i think the idea of changing the rule of majority is clever because the biggest fear was guys this is all good, but how are you going to enforce it? we remember the drama around the lisbon treaty. we remember the referendum in the netherlands and france when voters declined. i think it is comprehensive but the first up is you have to sell it to the partners and you have to see whether the u.k. is interested. i have doubts about that. >> once again angela merkel and nicolas sarkozy. germany and france will have to make compromises and time is getting sure. short. the power couple nicknamed merck owes he has green -- agreed on
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reforms before the crucial e.u. summit in the night of december. proposals include a modified e.u. treaty with rules of budget balancing. >> is yet another crucial week for the euro. the stakes are high and the franco-german couple is at the forefront. >> at the heart of the european crisis is a crisis of the euro. is the most dangerous one and could sweep everything away. what would happen to europe if the euro would disappear? water with the left of europe if it collapses? nothing. >> angela merkel wants a fiscal union so the eurozone countries breaking the rules will face automatic penalties. at the heart of franco-german discussions our differences over the world of the european central bank. currently limited to keeping a check on inflation. >> it is a coarsened porton to point out again that the job of the european central bank is different from that of the
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federal reserve in the u.s. and the bank of england. 's paris wanted the ecb to intervene more but the sides have now agreed not to push the issue any longer. france is coming to life as germany's position on eurobonds. germany and france are in total agreement. eurobonds in any event cannot be a solution to the crisis and i must say to the fringe, this would be a very strange idea. other countries i.e. france and germany have to pay for other countries debts without controlling the bond surety. >> regarding another regarding another main sticking and.falls into line with german demands for e.u. treaty change but that could take months to push through.
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>> and a show of unity the leaders of germany and france have agreed on a new plant to leave the e. u. out of its debt crisis. the proposal involves amending e.u. treaty to impose stricter budget deficit rules on member governments. german chancellor angela merkel and french president nicolas sarkozy said the proposal shows their determination to restore growth in the e.u. and keep the euro as the stable currency. >> it's a race against time. merkel and sarkozy want their e.u. partners to take action on the treaty overhaul by march. >> as the french president said that would be the most logical course. but as difficult and someone can't or won't participate we are determined to say that the euro is so important we will go ahead with a 17 euros and countries and be open to others that want to participate.
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under the new treaty members overspending would be hit with automatic sanctions. france and germany are pushing for monthly meetings with the eurozone leaders to coordinate fiscal policy and binding debt limits for eurozone members. the european court of justice would ultimately decide whether countries have correctly incorporated those rules into national law. the two leaders also on preparations for a permanent bailout fund to the european stability mechanism to bear fruit by late 2012, a year earlier than planned. >> aligning the core economic values in both our countries and increasing solidarity between germany and france is a historic decision. >> but the european partners will have to follow suit and this week's summit will put the franco-german proposals to the test. >> correspondent hugh schofield is watching events force
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impairs. talk to me about the german french plan. the eurozone had a series of rules about the debt before so what is so different about this latest plan? >> you are absolutely right, there was the european stability factor which would cave-in with a single currency and which is ignored not just by -- that france and germany themselves. that led us to this crunch. the difference now is that apparently they mean it when they say the that countries will be punished if they breach the various limits. there will be changes to the treaty. it could be just for the euros seemed members are it could be for all 27 member countries and there will be in addition this sort of what they call this golden rule golden rule idea where into each countries budgeted is a constitutional requirement not to breach the european figure, the limit. so, if they do, it's just a much
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more disciplined, rigorous, clear statements that countries will not be allowed to get away with it anymore, and to that extent, that means markets will be convinced. >> how likely is it that all other e.u. states will agree to this new plant? >> well, i mean you know, obviously there is some resentment at the way it has been steamrolled and organized by the two big players but in the sense that it's in everyone's interest to surmount the problem and everybody is aware of the urgency, even countries like britain who are ferry suspicious of being left out and so on i think even those countries are may be prepared to follow at least in haste and urgency required that we move quickly. >> we are going to leave it there for now but we thank you.
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in paris, hugh schofield. >> welcome back. as pressure mounts on european leaders to prevent the financial contagion rumbled the u.s. treasury secretary is heading for europe on tuesday. timothy geithner is going to meets top european members in the central bank. the u.s. treasury says he will off third bison ideas the europeans as they refined their own plans. the u.s. markets are watching the europeans worried that a european crisis could hurt the still fragile economic recovery. for more let's go to new york and we can talk to our reporter on wall street. what are investors think? will kind of message are they expecting timothy geithner to send to the europeans? >> well basically that geithner is trying to tell everybody to really give it all to get this crisis under control and if you look at those travel plans it's quite a trip that timothy geithner is planning here. a visit in franklin berlin paris
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marseilles and the lawn so those are the doers just within the next two or three days but what is also at stake is growth in the united states just in the past couple of months. we saw that the united states is at least seen some economic growth but that would be in jeopardy if europe would go into a recession. there's also a lot of domestic politics involved i geithner. >> indeed. the last time timothy geithner went to europe he was given the big brush off. i can't imagine that went down very well. >> well, mean that really remains to be seen if the europeans are too keen to really hear from timothy geithner because that something has to be not done everybody is well aware of that. still if we look at the market overall there seems to be a bit of optimism that the

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